Artist's Lane: To still, steal or steel


By Betty Slade

PREVIEW Columnist

Moonshine on the Blanco —Heaven forbid! You can tell when winter has gone on too long and cabin fever is setting in. My Sweet Al is watching TV shows about moonshine and bootleggers.

He contends that he’s an outside person, but it’s too cold to be out and about. For now, winter has him socked in with socks up in his recliner. He’s lost and not sure what to do with himself.

Captivated by the backwoods people, he left the television blaring and ran to tell me that they made over $1,000 in illegal moonshine in one day. The sheriff was chasing them and the county competition was growing hostile and stealing customers.

“Surely, he is not thinking about making moonshine.”

His new pastime, an American docudrama television series, is about the people who produce illegal moonshine in the Appalachian Mountains. The new season promises that Tickle may return from his imprisonment to try and pick up his partnership with Tim.

Yes, I said that right. My Sweet Al is now hooked on the “Tickle and Tim Show.“

Our son came in the front door and said, “Why is the trapdoor open? Who is under the house?”

“I think your dad is looking for Ball jars. He’s going to try his hand at moonshining. He asked me to Google moonshine recipes.”

I was joking as to why my Sweet Al was under the house, but based on his new viewing habit, my curiosity was piqued. To my amazement, I was shocked to find an online recipe for apple pie moonshine. Then I found a pie ala mode brew. In fact, my one search brought up over 50 recipes giving step-by-step instructions on how to make things like white chocolate moonshine, and tart cherry pie moonshine.

Throw in a can of whipped cream and maybe I’m the one who has found a new hobby.

Over the years, I’ve come to know that my Sweet Al needs to stay busy. And, the busier he is, the sweeter he gets — or maybe it’s me who gets sweeter. Al has always been interested in house painting. Maybe I can teach him how to paint on canvas as a way to deal with the long winter season. Then again, teaching him to paint could drive me so “crazy” that I would cut off my ear like Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh, the artist who was known for painting “The hundred faces of Van Gogh,” was one of the most prolific self-portraitists of all times. Not because he liked looking at himself; he used portrait painting as a method of introspection to help himself develop skills as an artist. Unfortunately, tempers flared while working for another artist name Gauguin. In a fit of rage, Van Gogh turned his razor on himself and severed part of his left ear.

Maybe I just need to be silent and let my Sweet Al enjoy his Appalachian reality TV. Besides, his stories were entertaining and likely added more dimension than the show’s actual B-roll footage.

Final brushstroke: Sometimes we just need to let a sleeping dog lie. NASCAR season is here, so I’m betting story time will change from brew and stills to steel and wheels. At any rate, I’ve bookmarked a new online recipe tutorial just in case It’s me who can’t handle the long winter season. If you can’t find me, know I’m under the house with my can of whipped cream.